Reflections Upon The Sri Lankan Cricketer's Chances On The Eve Of The First Test At Lords.
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On the eve of the First Test Match between Sri Lanka and England at the Mecca of Cricket, Lords, England seem to be smugly confident of their chances of beating Sri Lanka in the series and appear to be already waving victory flags in typical Brit fashion beleiving they could outpsyche their opponents given the key factors of (1) The absence of Muttiah Muraltharan Sri lanka's megastar spin bowler, (2) That they have been able to manipulate the timing of the series to their advantage based on the concept that Sri Lanka are poor performers in the damp and cold of an English spring and (3) The media hype of the British Press and Bookmakers who have made England odds on favourites, but they are surely due for a few surprises as the indomitable Lankan Squad are there to prove the Brits wrong and confound their mythical belief that they could ever be intimidated or subjugated regardless of conditions, the nature of the wicket, or the resolve of the opposition as their own resolve to reach the pinnacle of cricket is greater than ever.
The absence of Muralitharan is undoubtedly felt which hopefully will be temporary as he is expected to be fit for the Second Test and to reiterate Coach Dav Whatmore's sentiments is an opportunity for the boys to go out and prove that they could still win without him. A 'Muralithanless" Sri Lankan squad appears to be a cause for high English spirits about their chances albeit the Lords wicket being a seamer's haven and it may be to their utter surprise and chagrin should the Sri Lankan attack of Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Soysa and Dilhara Fernando transform the English batting repertoire into a veritable bowling alley of toppling skittles! The spin attack of Samarawera, Chandana, Jayasuriya and that great breaker up of partnerships de Silva should hold a few surprises for the English batting too.
The English Cricketing Authorities have apparently resorted to a 'Derring -Do' mentality in the choice of dates this early in the English summer as it has been rumored that the criteria upon which the timing of the series was based coincided with the expectation of a lacklustre performance by the Sri Lankans in cold English conditions nonetheless, forgetting that in Sri Lanka they also play in similar conditions in places such as Darrawela and Radella and that conditions should pose no real problems and its upto the flamboyant Sri Lankans to go out and prove their mettle especially with the calibre of players such as the great Aravinda de Silva in the side of whom there are great expectations together with the rest of the squad rated No.3 in the world.
There are concerns that there has been very little match practise prior to the First Test due to the rain affected games against the Universities, Durham and Middlesex but at least they did show traces of what the English should expect, by way of the performances of Mahela Jayawardena, Marvan Attapattu, Russel Arnold, Aravinda de Silva and Hashan Tillekeratne who sparkled briefly and perhaps Sanath Jayasuriya , Kumar Sangakkara, Thilan Samaraweera and Chaminda Vaas are saving their best with the bat for the big occassions!
Sri Lankans around the Globe will be watching the series with great interest as they wish the Sri Lankan Cricketers the very best accompanied by the cheers of adoring fans " go out and whip em lads!! you can do it ".
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